It is officially *that* time of year. The dark mornings and evenings are here to stay, making summer nights a distant memory. Inevitably, the temperature is beginning to drop. Have you considered the effects cold weather can have on day-to-day working environments?
The Government and the Health and Safety Executive offer guidance surrounding workplace temperature. The websites suggest that during the colder seasons, the workplace should be heated to a minimum of 16°. For workplaces that include physical work and activity, employers should aim for 13°.
Although there is no guidance for maximum heat, employers should aim for a ‘reasonable’ temperature, at both extremes. Employers should ensure staff are comfortable. It is also important that the workplace is circulating fresh, clean air.
Effects on team performance
Studies have shown that staff morale and productivity can dip in the colder seasons. Performance has the potential to suffer even more if staff are uncomfortable in their working environments. Issues like being cold can make employees less productive as they are working harder to stay warm, rather than their tasks at hand.
NORI HR and Employment Law suggestions:
- Keep the heating on during working hours
- Check the whole office’s preferences for winter changes in the workplace
- Consider introducing an optional hybrid working policy
- Offer staff hot beverages
- Consider relaxing the dress code (is it going to affect the business if Kelsey in marketing wears her parker at her desk?)
If your employees work outside
- Can you provide thermals or other extra layers of clothing?
- Could you create access to a temporary warmer environment?
Other Winter Considerations
What if my employees are snowed in?
It’s a good idea to have guidance in the workplace for situations like ‘snow days’. If employees live in slightly more remote areas, a snow day could affect the commute to work. Can you relax your policies for working hours or location for a situation like this?
What other changes can I make within the workplace?
Winter is often associated with fatigue. Many workers will leave the house when it is dark, and return home when it is dark. This can have effects on their mental health, sleeping patterns and productivity levels. A few things you can do to help your staff are:
- Brighten up the workplace by increasing natural light – keep blinds open, invest in ‘daylight’ bulbs, add some plants to the office
- Prevent cold and flu – encourage staff to wash their hands by adding signage to the bathrooms and adding sanitiser stations around the workplace
- Check-in on staffs wellbeing – let them know you are available and there to help if they need any support
If you have the ability to be flexible with your employees, the employees will appreciate the gesture and return the flexibility. Being mindful of your staff and ensuring that they are happy will create a better working environment. This will then result in fewer grievances, disciplinaries, and absences from work, meaning that the cold weather at work will not impact the performance of the business as a whole.
Need HR Support? Contact NORI HR & Employment Law
Here at NORI HR, we are your reputable and trusted HR company that provides a wide range of services to help support your employees and drive your business forward. Our services include; HR 360 packages, HR Business partner packages, HR Certified Workshops and more. For more information, please call us today on 01254 947829 or use our online contact form and we’ll get back to you promptly.